There’s an old saying that you can’t put toothpaste back in the tube. Technically you can, but it’s not easy. Similarly, as easy as it sounds to put crushed grain in a muslin bag on brew day, it can seem just as challenging. When I started brewing, I wound up getting grain all along the sides of the muslin bag, grain dust flew everywhere out the bottom of the grain bag, and several times some of the grain would miss completely and wind up on the floor. Trying to do this single-handedly was way more difficult. It felt like it needed to be a two person job; someone to hold the bag open and someone to pour.
I found a great trick to getting the grain into the muslin bag that is easy to do by yourself, is spill-proof and makes no grain dust. Here’s what to do:
In this picture, we see what we’re up against… getting the crushed grain from the packaged plastic bag into the muslin bag. The muslin bag’s main purpose in life at this moment is to make things as difficult for you as possible.
Our first step is to get a bowl and put the packaged plastic bag of crushed grains right into it. Go ahead and cut the top off. Take a minute here to smell the grains, it’s one of the greatest parts of brew day.
Next, we’re going to show that muslin bag who’s boss. Take the bag by both hands and start to open it up. Keep opening it all the way down the bag to the bottom. If you’ve ever put on tight socks before, you have probably done this… start at the toe and work your way up. Do the same thing with the grain bag (but don’t actually put it on your foot).
Once you’ve opened up the bag all the way to the bottom, put it over the top of the plastic grain pouch that’s sitting in the bowl. Reassure your grains that they are not being kidnapped and are in no danger, except for the 160 degree water that awaits them.
Next we’re going to flip it, so the open end of the muslin bag is on top, and the plastic bag of grain is upside down inside of it.
Now pull the plastic bag out. The grains just sit in place, and wind up on the very bottom of the muslin bag, with no dust at all and no grains sticking to the sides around the top of the muslin bag.
Now all you need to do is give it a simple tie off at the top and you’re ready to go. You’ll be surprised at how much grain dust is in the bottom of the bowl, where it’s easy to wash out. None of it winds up on your floor.
Hope this little tip makes your brew day a little easier!